Edmund Duffy’s five-decade legal career, during which he rose to prominence as the former heard of the China practice at Skadden, officially ended 02/08/2018, when he was automatically disbarred after he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography.
A Suffolk County District Court Judge was suspended from the bench after he was arrested and charged with burglary. He was caught with women’s underwear that he allegedly stole from a private residence.
Evan Greebel, a former partner at Kaye Scholer and Katten Muchin Rosenman, was sent to prison for working with disgraced pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli to defraud investors.
Keila Ravelo was sentenced to five years for conspiring to defraud her former law firms and clients out of $7.8 Million, using bogus litigation vendors. Prosecutors said that the former Hunton & Williams and Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner used the money to fuel a lavish lifestyle.
Prominent M&A partner Frank Aquila deleted his Twitter account after tellling White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders she should “Rot in Hell You Bitch” for defending Sen. Lindsey Graham amid the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.
Manhattan attorney Aaron Schlossberg’s rant against employees speaking Spanish at a Mexican Restaurant provoked a firestorm on social media.
Another viral video captured a second New York City lawyer who directed racially charged comments at bystanders.
“Egragious and outragesou” conduct by ex-Mintz Levin associate Anthony Jacob Zappin during his pro se legal war with his former wife, also an attorney, led to his disbarment.
New York’s high court unanimously said that Civil Court Judge Terrence O’Connor’s “intemparate” and “inappropriate” behavior in the courtroom were bad enough, but his decision to not cooperate with an investigation into his actions also contributed to his removal from the bench.
Every day it seems, I read something about Judges in this Country, or someone contacts me about them, or I experience them first hand, or perhaps, one of the attorneys that I have worked with feels their wrath.
The judges hate pro se litigants. The judges hate foreclosure defense lawsuits. The judges hate almost everything and/or everyone, except their fellow judges, or people they knew while they were attorneys, or maybe their own families. It has come to the point, that I told someone the other day, we need to get rid of all govt., and all judges, and start anew.
I’m serious. Most people don’t encounter the crimes that the judges are committing. Or so I thought. I have read some things lately, where more and more people are noticing that unless you are a bank, an attorney on the judge’s good side, or a multi-billion dollar corporation, there is no justice for you in the US.
Read on, and see some of what I am talking about. I have added in parts of articles supporting what I am claiming. There will be links to the articles, so that you can see for yourself, where the information came from:
Judge William Kent’s preliminary ruling seemed like a first step toward compromise. Margaret and Stuart Besen, who agreed their marriage was beyond repair, would remain in their suburban Suffolk County house, living in separate rooms – and keeping away from each other – while sharing custody until a resolution could be reached.
But within weeks, the situation deteriorated. Stuart Besen, a politically connected attorney for the town of Huntington, had an anger problem, Margaret told authorities. The couple’s screaming matches left Margaret feeling intimidated and their children – a daughter, 11, and son, 7 – terrified, she said. So in August of that year she obtained an order of protection prohibiting Stuart from harassing her. Three weeks later, Stuart entered Margaret’s bedroom and hovered over her as she slept, she told police. They arrested him for violating the order, reporting that Stuart had stared down at Margaret with his arms folded on three consecutive nights. She got temporary possession of the family home.
In the years that followed, Besen’s hopes for an equitable settlement dwindled as she battled a series of harsh and hard-to-explain decisions against her. Though she could never prove anything, she suspected that the scales had tipped for reasons unrelated to the evidence in her case. If true, Besen faced what experts say is one of the most troubling threats to our nation’s system of justice: judges, who, through incompetence, bias or outright corruption, prevent the wronged from getting a fair hearing in our courts.
“The decorum and bias and the perfectly unethical behavior of the judges is really rampant,” said Amanda Lundergan, a defense attorney in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, who confronted a nest of judicial conflicts in her state’s rapid-fire foreclosure rulings – dubbed the “rocket-docket” – following the housing market collapse. “It’s judicial bullying.”
Judges in local, state and federal courts across the country routinely hide their connections to litigants and their lawyers. These links can be social – they may have been law school classmates or share common friends – political, financial or ideological. In some instances the two may have mutual investment interests. They might be in-laws. Occasionally they are literally in bed together. While it’s unavoidable that such relationships will occur, when they do create a perception of bias, a judge is duty-bound to at the very least disclose that information, and if it is creates an actual bias, allow a different judge to take over.
All too often, however, the conflicted jurist says nothing and proceeds to rule in favor of the connected party, while the loser goes off without realizing an undisclosed bias doomed her case.
Hundreds of judicial transgressions have been uncovered during the last decade, with results that cost the defeated litigants their home, business, custody, health or freedom.
But court critics say that one reason judicial violations are common is because they frequently go unpunished. When litigants ask a judge to back away because of a conflict, they risk being told no, then face possible retaliation, so many don’t bother. If a litigant or an attorney files a complaint with an oversight body, there’s only about a 10% chance that state court authorities will properly investigate the allegation, according to a Contently.org analysis of data from 12 states.
The analysis shows that a dozen of these commissions collectively dismissed out of hand 90% of the complaints filed during the last five years, tossing 33,613 of 37,216 grievances without conducting any substantive inquiry. When they did take a look – 3,693 times between 2010 and 2014 – investigators found wrongdoing almost half the time, issuing disciplinary actions in 1,751 cases, about 47%.
The actions taken ranged from a letter of warning to censure, a formal sanction that indicates a judge is guilty of misconduct but does not merit suspension or removal.
Actually removing a judge was a rarity. Just 19 jurists in 12 states were ordered off the bench for malfeasance, which is about three per decade for each state. And even that result is becoming less common, with only one removal in 2014 and three in 2013 among all 12 states.
The states examined – California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, Colorado, Washington, Georgia and South Carolina – were chosen because they comprise a representative sample from different populations and areas of the country and because they had matching data for the years 2010 through 2014.
Judicial discipline at the federal level is almost non-existent. A Contently.org examination of the most recent five years of complaint data shows that 5,228 grievances were lodged against federal jurists between 2010 and 2014, including 2,561 that specifically alleged bias or conflict of interest. But only three judges were disciplined during those years and each got the mildest rebuke on the books: censure or reprimand. None was suspended or removed.
Margaret won a court order of protection barring Stuart from contact with her children for a year. But when Kent issued his final decree less than six weeks later, he awarded Stuart full custody, while Margaret was allowed only supervised visits. And he ordered Margaret to pay back half the cost of her nursing degree and to sell her diamond engagement ring and split the proceeds with Stuart. The judge also reversed the support arrangements. While Stuart would pay $1,500 a month in maintenance to Margaret, she now owed Stuart $153.90 a week for the children, even though she was earning about $13,000 a year as a part-time aide in an assisted-living facility.
Margaret began to look into her husband’s dealings and discovered, through searching public records, that he and judge Kent had possible connections. In 2010, Stuart was appointed as the Suffolk County representative on a statewide commission for vetting local judicial candidates. That same year, an organization based at Stuart Besen’s Garden City law office, the Long Island Coalition for Responsible Government, donated $7,500 to candidate Richard Ambro, who got elected and became one of Kent’s fellow Supreme Court judges in Suffolk’s 10th district. In his role as Huntington’s town lawyer, Besen argued cases before these very judges. He’d entered a circle of judicial insiders.
“I’m in the middle of a large group of people who’ve got money and influence and who are all connected,” said Margaret Besen. “I’m not being afforded an opportunity to get a fair shake.”
Above: Margaret Besen stands in front of the former Besen family home, now unoccupied in Commack, Long Island. Photograph: Alan Chin
Margaret had no way of knowing whether the connections she uncovered played any role in how Kent ruled in her case. But her concern deepened when she made an additional discovery about her house. Kent had ordered the Besen home, the most valuable marital asset, to be sold and the proceeds divided, putting Margaret in line to receive possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then she found an online listing offering the property for sale – with the judge’s wife, Patricia Kent, as broker. The home, which was listed for $749,999 with Patricia Kent’s photo and contact information on Realty Connect USA, is currently more than $15,000 in arrears on its property taxes and no longer appears to be actively offered. Margaret was evicted from the house in 2013 and lives in a modest apartment a few miles away. She has yet to receive a penny for her interest in the property.
Scott L Cummings, a professor of legal ethics at UCLA law school, said the case raised “significant ethical red flags”, because of the judge’s wife’s alleged involvement in offering the Besen family home for sale. “Not knowing the details of how his spouse might have been assigned as broker, the idea that a judge might benefit financially from the sale of a property in dispute in a pending matter seems to raise a serious question of impartiality.”
Ronald Rotunda, a professor at Chapman University law school in Orange, California, said: “What judge Kent did here seems odd. The husband makes over a half million a year, she makes $13,000 a year, and the judge orders her to pay child support (which is tax free to him and not deductible for her).”
But a culture of judicial impunity extends far beyond Long Island’s county courts. Indeed, even the US supreme court has been tarnished on this issue.
Justice Steven Breyer owned $215,000 in health-care stocks when deciding on the legality of the Affordable Care Act in 2012. Justice Samuel Alito’s portfolio included $2,000 in stock in The Walt Disney Co. in 2008, the year the court heard Disney, FCC v. Fox Television Stations. And perhaps most famously, justice Antonin Scalia has participated in the Bush v. Gore case, even though his son Eugene’s law firm represented one of the parties. In another case, Scalia remained in the panel despite having gone on a duck hunting trip with former Vice-President Dick Cheney while he was being sued to reveal the details of secret meetings he held with oil company executives in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The online vitriol directed at unscrupulous judges, which began in the mid- 2000s, has built to a howling digital crescendo. Websites including The Robe Probe, The Judiciary Report and The Robing Room, which rate judges the way Yelp rates restaurants, are rife with railing as embittered, mostly anonymous plaintiffs rip into judicial decisions they feel were biased or corrupt.
In an appeal of a case in West Virginia court, A.T. Massey Coal Co. CEO Don Blankenship spent $3m to elect Brent Benjamin, who ultimately provided the swing vote that overturned a $50m judgment against his company. Benjamin rebuffed repeated demands that the newly elected justice recuse himself because of his obvious conflict.
The US Supreme Court ruled that Benjamin’s bias was so extreme that his failure to step aside violated Caperton’s right to due process under the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. The case, which spawned Grisham’s 2008 best-seller, “The Appeal,” underscored the kind of underhanded dealing that has stained the judiciary.
A further nudge for reform came last year when the Center for Public Integrity published a report on financial conflicts of interest. Among its findings: on 26 occasions in the preceding three years, federal appellate judges ruled on cases involving companies in which they owned stock or where they had a financial tie to an attorney appearing before them.
A further nudge for reform came last year when the Center for Public Integrity published a report on financial conflicts of interest. Among its findings: on 26 occasions in the preceding three years, federal appellate judges ruled on cases involving companies in which they owned stock or where they had a financial tie to an attorney appearing before them.
It also created a grading system to gauge how diligent each state was in collecting personal financial information from its judges, including stock ownership and outside sources of income, and how accessible that data was to the public. The center said that 42 states, plus the District of Columbia, failed its test. Six others earned a D grade, while two – California and Maryland – got Cs. California’s score, 77, the highest of any state, was seven points below the federal government’s grade of 84.
The report highlighted the type of conflict that can be most readily identified and that doing so requires full disclosure from the judges. Stock ownership, even if minimal, should automatically disqualify a judge from hearing a case, many experts believe. “If a judge owns a single share in a company involved in a case, he should recuse himself instantly,” says Rotunda, a leading law scholar.
It’s been more than two years since Margaret Besen has seen her children, who are now 12 and 16. There’s no money to pay the court supervisor, so they can’t visit. Nor does Besen have the funds to continue fighting. Kent retired shortly after making his decision.
“The hardest thing in my life is that I can’t be with my children and I can’t have an impact on my children’s upbringing,” Besen said over coffee at a Long Island diner. “A lot of people do not have any idea how the judicial system works or doesn’t work until you’re in it. We think we’re in a democratic society. We think we’re run by rules. But they are not being upheld by the court at all.”
In recent years, America’s corporations have created a private system for handling disputes that benefits them greatly while denying consumers their day in court.
Worse, according to a recent series in The Times, that system has become vast and more entrenched as companies increasingly require customers, employees, investors, patients and other consumers to agree in advance to arbitrate any disputes that arise in their dealings with a company, rather than sue in a court of law.
Such forced-arbitration clauses, found in the fine print of contracts, also typically bar aggrieved parties from pressing their claims as a group in a class action, often the only practical way for individuals to challenge corporations. In addition, corporations effectively control the arbitration process, including the selection of the arbitrator and the rules of evidence, a stacked deck if ever there was one.
As if that is not troubling enough, it is extremely difficult to avoid or get out of forced-arbitration clauses and class-action bans, particularly since they were upheld by two misguided Supreme Court decisions in 2011 and in 2013.
From 2010 to 2014, corporations prevailed in four out of five cases where they asked federal judges to dismiss class-action lawsuits and compel arbitration, according to The Times’s articles. People who were blocked from going to court as a group usually dropped their claims entirely, in part because class actions are often the only affordable way to file lawsuits. If successful, they can deter future corporate wrongdoing because even small payouts, multiplied over all similarly mistreated customers, can be very large.
Indeed, faced with arbitration, it appears that most people do not pursue remedies to their grievances at all. Verizon, with more than 125 million subscribers, faced 65 consumer arbitrations between 2010 and 2014, The Times’s report found. Sprint, with more than 57 million subscribers, faced six. Time Warner Cable, with 15 million subscribers, faced seven.
Even more disturbing, the shift away from the civil justice system has gone beyond disputes about money. Nursing homes, obstetrics practices and private schools increasingly use forced-arbitration clauses to shield themselves from being taken to court over alleged discrimination, elder abuse, fraud, hate crimes, medical malpractice and wrongful death.
For the most part, Congress has looked the other way. Federal regulators, however, are starting to fight back. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is expected to propose a rule soon to forbid arbitration clauses that ban class actions in cases involving financial services and products. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is expected to issue updated nursing home regulations next year, is considering a ban on forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts.
Reversing the broader trend of forced arbitration, however, will require public outcry loud and long enough to stir the White House and Congress to action. Many people interviewed in The Times’s series did not realize that their right to sue had been lost until they needed it. A common refrain was the disbelief that this could happen in America. But it is happening, and it needs to stop.
Artificial Intelligence – The Judge, Jury, Lawyer, Journalist, and Executioner
By Nate – 10/24/2016
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If you go to their site, you can view a video on it. I could not copy the video section across.
In the days ahead imagine a world in which your crimes were judged not by your fellow peers, but rather by an artificial intelligence. A team of scientists in the UK have developed an AI which can successfully predict the verdicts of Human Rights cases with an accuracy of 79 percent.
The ‘computer judge’ was developed by The University College London and the University of Sheffield. The scientists developed an algorithm which can not only weigh up evidence but can also make moral considerations.
Are you ready for the Terminator Judge?
Artificial Intelligence, no matter how smart, has no morals. What all began in the 1960’s as a prediction that computers could one day be able to predict the outcomes of judicial decisions, has just come about.
AI is increasingly being used in fields such as journalism, law, and accountancy.
However, according to the team of scientists;
“We don’t see AI replacing judges or lawyers, but we think they’d find it useful for rapidly identifying patterns in cases that lead to certain outcomes,” said Dr Nikolaos Aletras, who led the study at UCL Computer Science.
“It could also be a valuable tool for highlighting which cases are most likely to be violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.”
Interestingly enough, this is how it starts. First, the AI weighs in, then the AI becomes a member of the Judicial process, and finally the AI replaces the AI process.
Realistically this is step one.
In the not-so-distant future, artificial intelligence will replace lawyers, journalists, judges, policemen, law and order, and so many more common jobs. The most critical positions that will determine mankind’s fate are that of the legal sector, and as of this report – it begins.
Scientists claim that the Artificial Intelligence was taught morals. However, morals cannot be found in brain tissue but rather in the spirit. The conviction that comes from wrongdoing is not found in mankind, but it is located in the conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit, lest we forget the days and stories of the Israelites departure from Egypt.
Artificial Intelligence is coming about through the rise in evolutionist ideology, and the belief that man is just another animal. In the not so distant future; a central intelligence, no not the CIA, but rather the Central Artificial Intelligence will be the judge jury and executioner. The artificial intelligence will make assumptions and calculations based on thought crimes, and based on tendencies.
By the year 2023, according to the World Economic Forum, the first ever implantable mobile device will be sold to consumers. At this point an individual will be able to control a device by thought, and at this moment an individual’s thought will ping a server rather than an action inputted into a smartphone. The implantable mobile device can and will give rise to the analyzation of an individual’s thoughts.
To develop the algorithm, the team allowed the algorithm to scan the published judgments from 584 cases relating to torture and degrading treatment, fair trials and privacy. The computer learned that certain phrases, facts, or circumstances occurred more frequently when there was a violation of the human rights act. After analyzing hundreds of cases, the computer was able to predict a verdict with 79 percent accuracy.
Creating an algorithm which judges upon particular facts, phrases and circumstances will give rise to the Artificial Judge, Jury, and Executioner. Thus, creating an artificial judge which bases its decision upon thoughts rather than actual crimes.
“Previous studies have predicted outcomes based on the nature of the crime, or the policy position of each judge, so this is the first time judgments have been predicted using analysis of text prepared by the court,” said co-author, Dr. Vasileios Lampos, UCL Computer Science.
“We expect this sort of tool would improve efficiencies of high level, in demand courts, but to become a reality, we need to test it against more articles and the case data submitted to the tribunal.
“Ideally, we’d test and refine our algorithm using the applications made to the court rather than the published judgments, but without access to that data, we rely on the court-published summaries of these submissions.
To conclude, the allowance of such a judge in real-time, in an actual court would require the doing away of the entirety, and legitimacy of the legal system. Thus giving rise to the beast system which could deem Christianity as dangerous, certain phrases and thoughts as conviction, and certain circumstances as grounds for execution.
(NaturalNews) Three days ago, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg went on a discombobulated verbal rampage against Donald Trump, calling him a “faker” and claiming that if he were elected president, “then everything is up for grabs.”
She then went on to declare that everybody should “move to New Zealand” where, apparently, they can all wear their liberal tin foil hats together while America finally builds a wall to keep them all out.
But what almost nobody seems to remember about all this is that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was brain damaged by chemotherapy in 2009. As this NY Daily News story explains, she underwent chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer that year.
Chemotherapy is a systemic poison that damages the brains, kidneys and hearts of those who undergo the procedure. As oncologists well know, chemotherapy causes “chemo brain” — a form of chemically induced brain damage that severely impairs cognitive ability by damaging brain cells. It’s far worse than the brain damage you’d suffer from sniffing glue or consuming meth, by the way.
Chemo brain is a medically recognized side effect of chemotherapy, and even the Mayo Clinic describes chemo brain side effects as including:
Difficulty finding the right word
Feeling of mental fogginess
Short-term memory problems
Taking longer than usual to complete routine tasks
Trouble with verbal memory, such as remembering a conversation
Does this sound exactly like Ruth Bader Ginsburg? You bet it does!
America’s highest court populated by a brain-damaged liberal
All this explains why Ginsberg’s Supreme Court decisions have been so cognitively impaired for the last seven years. It’s also why she recently committed a huge error by uttering all those insanely stupid words against Donald Trump, earning her a retort from Trump who correctly says her “mind is shot.”
The Trumpster is now calling for Ginsberg to resign in shame, and even the New York Times now agrees that Trump is right: Ginsberg has totally lost her mind. Why hasn’t she resigned yet? Because she’s too cognitively impaired to realize she needs to resign.
It’s frightening to think that the very future of America hinges in part on the decisions of a brain-damaged U.S. Supreme Court Justice who has lost the ability to think or speak with clarity. Yet in another way, it’s also not so surprising: She’s the perfect poster girl for the total insanity that now exists in Washington D.C. … a dangerous departure from sanity that’s now endemic across the entire federal government. In fact, if you think about it, why shouldn’t an insanely stupid, incompetent and corrupt federal government be incessantly granted unconstitutional powers by a brain-damaged Supreme Court justice who can’t control her own mouth?
This is all the more reason to elect Donald Trump, by the way. If we are to have any real hope of saving America, we have to replace all the insane, incompetent and brain damaged government officials with intelligent, capable, patriotic Americans who can get things done while protecting individual liberty. Read more at Trump.news.
‘Iqbal’ Brings Seven Years of Bad Luck for Plaintiffs
OPINION: The heightened pleading standard established in 2009 is based on faulty propositions.
Arthur H. Bryant, The National Law Journal
May 23, 2016
The seventh anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal was May 18. It’s a date that should live in infamy.
A 5-4 decision, Iqbal ignored reality — and the fact that truth is stranger than fiction. It flouted the process for amending the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. And it particularly limited access to justice for civil rights, employment discrimination and individual plaintiffs.
Seventy years before Iqbal, in 1938, the Federal Rules were adopted to get rid of “fact” pleading, which the rule-makers thought “led to wasteful disputes about distinctions that … were arbitrary or metaphysical, too often cutting off adjudication on the merits.” Under the new Rule 8, to start a lawsuit, the plaintiff had to file a complaint with “a short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief.”
As the court later explained in Conley v. Gibson, the complaint did not have to “set out the facts in detail.” It just had to give the defendant “fair notice of what the plaintiff’s claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” A motion to dismiss would only be granted if “it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Then, the plaintiff could take discovery, to find out what the defendant and other relevant people knew and when they knew it. After that, the court would determine whether there was sufficient proof to require a trial.
In Iqbal, the court rejected a complaint alleging that high-level U.S. officials had a Pakistani Muslim and thousands of other Arab men illegally arrested and detained after the 9/11 attacks because of “their race, religion, and national origin … and not because of any evidence” of their “involvement in supporting terrorist activity.”
To do so, the court changed the rules. It held that, from now on, to “survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Dismissal no longer turned on whether the complaint provided “fair notice” to the defendant; it turned on whether the claim was “plausible on its face.” How were judges to determine that? By drawing on their “judicial experience and common sense.”
Motions to dismiss were immediately filed throughout the federal courts. Judges’ and lawyers’ workloads increased enormously. The lower courts and lawyers are still struggling to figure out how the new system is supposed to work — and, if they can, make it fair.
For three reasons, however, it’s become increasingly clear that Iqbal was a mistake.
First, whatever one thinks about the allegations in the case, the Iqbal pleading standard is based on a proposition — allegations probably aren’t true if they’re not plausible on their face — that is false. Reality keeps teaching us that. None of us, including federal judges using their “judicial experience and common sense,” would have believed that any of the following was plausible a few years ago:
• Donald Trump would be the presumptive Republican Party nominee for president of the United States of America.
• A prominent candidate for president would propose banning all Muslims from entering America or call women “fat pigs,” “dogs” and “disgusting animals.”
• Same-sex marriage would be legal nationwide.
• The U.S. government would obtain and be able to search virtually all Americans’ phone records.
• Olympic champion Bruce Jenner would become a woman, Caitlyn Jenner.
• Federal, state and local governments would battle over what kind of bathroom people such as Caitlyn Jenner could use.
Similar implausible things happen every day.
Second, Iqbal effectively rewrote the Federal Rules without following the legally established rules for amending them. Under the Rules Enabling Act, before rules are changed, detailed procedures must be followed involving the Advisory Committees to the U.S. Judicial Conference’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure; the Standing Committee itself; notice to and comment from lawyers, judges and the public; the U.S. Judicial Conference; the Supreme Court; and Congress — so the changes are fully considered and fair.
In 2002, the court unanimously rejected a company’s plea for a heightened pleading standard in employment discrimination cases, saying that result “must be obtained by the process of amending the Federal Rules, and not judicial interpretation.” It should have said that in Iqbal, too.
Third, Iqbal is especially harmful to civil rights, employment discrimination and individual plaintiffs. Last year, the most comprehensive study of Iqbal’s effects, “Measuring the Impact of Plausibility Pleading,” was published in the Virginia Law Review. It found that Iqbal increased dismissals of most cases by 10 percent, but employment discrimination and civil rights cases much more (16 percent and 19 percent, respectively). Cases filed by individuals were also dismissed far more often (18 percent), but not cases filed by corporations.
In theory, this could mean that only bad cases were dismissed more promptly. But, if that were true, a higher percentage of the cases remaining in court would succeed. They didn’t. These plaintiffs were just disproportionately denied a chance to prove their claims.
The high court should reverse the Iqbal decision. Whether cases proceed should turn on the facts and the law, not on whether judges think the allegations are plausible.
Arthur H. Bryant is the chairman of Public Justice, a national public interest law firm dedicated to advancing and preserving access to justice. His practice focuses on consumers’ rights, workers’ rights, civil rights, environmental protection, and corporate and government accountability.
If you don’t do anything else productive this week, do me one small favor, go here:
watch this youtube video, and learn the truth. I have been trying to tell people for the last 5 years, and cannot get enough people to listen, or believe the truth.
The US govt., the Japanese govt., are not going to tell you the truth. Every time I see someone letting their kids play in the rain, I want to walk up and slap them for their stupidity, then have to remember that no one has told them the truth. The news media, the govt, they all know the truth. Let’s just go about our daily lives, and ignore the situation.
Cancer has already been running rampant, the statistics show that it will take 15-17 years from March 11, 2011 to hit most people in the US. So much time will have passed since the triple – 100% meltdowns, that most peopel will not put 2 + 2 together to make 4. 2 + 2 by then, will be equal to 5.
The Scary TRUTH About Fukushima (Fukushima Exposed Full Documentary: Deception/End Times 2015)
So along with the chemtrails dumbing people down, helping them stay asleep, together with the deadly fluoride in the water, keep IQs that of a snail, and vaccines causing autism, all the more to black and hispanic males, most peopel in the US will contract cancer and never put it all together. Their children born with autism, their reproduction possibilities deteriorated, and never know what hit them.
Wake up you bunch of idiots, and smell the cesium, the strotium, tritium, and all the other radiations taking hold of your bodies. You cannot see radiation, you cannot smell it, you cannot feel it. It bioaccumulates in your bodies, and is a slow and horrible death.
How many people continued eating seafood? Wow! How many continued eating vegetables grown in California? How many people continued living on the California Coast? How many people go surfing in the Pacific? It only took 3-6 days from the March 11, 2011 triple melt down to reach the California coast.
Has anyone bothered to look at some of the pix of dead whales that have washed up on California beaches? How can the govt not tell these people living along the Pacific Ocean that their kids have been conaminated to the point that their grandchildren will not look anything like a human? The extent of our exposure is sickening, and no one cares, they won’t even listen.
No wonder they want to start confiscating our guns now. They know that when people learn the truth, some of the people are going to rebel. I watched a video recently that showed Hillary Clinton had the March 11, 2011 emails to her telling her to stay inside for the next three days. She knew all about what had happened and the extent of contamination. Japan passe secrecy laws to keep the people from talking about it. Media personnel that spoke of it, disappeared.
The births of the next couple of generations will be heartbreaking, horrors fit for horror movies. God Help Us All!
The judicial system doesn’t seem to have a problem with the FBI acting as admins for child porn sites while conducting investigations. After all, judges have seen worse. They’ve OK’ed the FBI’s hiring of a “heroin-addicted prostitute” to seduce an investigation target into selling drugs to undercover agents. Judges have, for the most part, allowed the ATF to bust people for robbing fake drug houses containing zero drugs — even when the actual robbery has never taken place. Judges have also found nothing wrong with law enforcement creating its own “pedophilic organization,” recruiting members and encouraging them to create child pornography.
So, when the FBI ran a child porn site for two weeks last year, its position as a child porn middleman was never considered to be a problem. The “network investigative technique” (NIT) it used to obtain identifying information about anonymous site visitors and their computer hardware, however, has resulted in a few problems for the agency.
While the FBI has been able to fend off one defendant’s attempt to suppress evidence out in Washington, it has just seen its evidence disappear in another case related to its NIT and the “PlayPen” child porn site it seized (and ran) last year.
What troubles the court isn’t the FBI acting as a child porn conduit in exchange for unmasking Tor users. What bothers the court is the reach of its NIT, which extends far outside the jurisdiction of the magistrate judge who granted the FBI’s search warrants. This decision benefits defendant Alex Levin of Massachusetts directly. But it could also pay off for Jay Michaud in Washington.
The warrants were issued in Virginia, which is where the seized server resided during the FBI’s spyware-based investigation. Levin, like Michaud, does not reside in the district where the warrant was issued (Virginia – Eastern District) and where the search was supposed to be undertaken. As Judge William Young explains, the FBI’s failure to restrict itself to the location where the NIT warrants were issued makes them worthless pieces of paper outside of that district. (via Chris Soghoian)
The government argues for a liberal construction of Rule 41(b) that would authorize the type of search that occurred here pursuant to the NIT Warrant. See Gov’t’s Resp. 18-20. Specifically, it argues that subsections (1), (2), and (4) of Rule 41(b) are each sufficient to support the magistrate judge’s issuance of the NIT Warrant. Id. This Court is unpersuaded by the government’s arguments. Because the NIT Warrant purported to authorize a search of property located outside the Eastern District of Virginia, and because none of the exceptions to the general territorial limitation of Rule 41(b)(1) applies, the Court holds that the magistrate judge lacked authority under Rule 41(b) to issue the NIT Warrant.
The government deployed some spectacular theories in its effort to salvage these warrants, but the court is having none of it.
The government advances two distinct lines of argument as to why Rule 41(b)(1) authorizes the NIT Warrant. One is that all of the property that was searched pursuant to the NIT Warrant was actually located within the Eastern District of Virginia, where the magistrate judge sat: since Levin — as a user of Website A — “retrieved the NIT from a server in the Eastern District of Virginia, and the NIT sent [Levin’s] network information back to a server in that district,” the government argues the search it conducted pursuant to the NIT Warrant properly can be understood as occurring within the Eastern District of Virginia. Gov’t’s Resp. 20. This is nothing but a strained, after-the-fact rationalization.
As the government attempts to portray it, the search was wholly contained in Virginia because the NIT was distributed by the seized server in the FBI’s control. But, as the judge notes, the searchitself — via the NIT — did not occur in Virginia. The NIT may have originated there, but without grabbing info and data from Levin’s computer in Massachusetts, the FBI would have nothing to use against the defendant.
That the Website A server is located in the Eastern District of Virginia is, for purposes of Rule 41(b)(1), immaterial, since it is not the server itself from which the relevant information was sought.
And, according to Judge Young, that’s exactly what the FBI has now: nothing.
The Court concludes that the violation at issue here is distinct from the technical Rule 41 violations that have been deemed insufficient to warrant suppression in past cases, and, in any event, Levin was prejudiced by the violation. Moreover, the Court holds that the good-faith exception is inapplicable because the warrant at issue here was void ab initio.
The judge has more to say about the FBI’s last ditch attempt to have the “good faith exception” salvage its invalid searches.
Even were the Court to hold that the good-faith exception could apply to circumstances involving a search pursuant to a warrant issued without jurisdiction, it would decline to rule such exception applicable here. For one, it was not objectively reasonable for law enforcement — particularly “a veteran FBI agent with 19 years of federal law enforcement experience[,]” Gov’t’s Resp. 7-8 — to believe that the NIT Warrant was properly issued considering the plain mandate of Rule 41(b).
The court doesn’t have a problem with NITs or the FBI’s decision to spend two weeks operating a seized child porn server. But it does have a problem with the government getting warrants signed in one jurisdiction and using them everywhere but.
The decision here could call into question other such warrants used extraterritorially, like the DEA’s dozens of wiretap warrants obtained in California but used to eavesdrop on targets located on the other side of the country. And it may help Jay Michaud in his case, seeing as he resides a few thousand miles away from where the search was supposedly performed.
At ABA Meeting, Bar Groups See Threat from Nonlawyers
Susan Beck, The Am Law Daily
February 4, 2016
(Stanford Law School Professor Deborah Rhode criticized the opposition to Resolution 105, which some fear could lead to more non-lawyers providing legal services.
Photo: Jason Doiy/The Recorder)
A modest proposal that hints at opening the door to nonlawyers providing simple legal services faces a tough fight at the American Bar Association’s midyear meetings, which are currently underway in San Diego.
The ABA’s Litigation Section, as well as the bar associations of Illinois, Nevada, New York, New Jersey and Texas, are all on record opposing Resolution 105, which was submitted by the Commission on the Future of Legal Services and five other ABA divisions. The commission was formed in August 2014 by then-incoming ABA president William Hubbard, who has been vocal about the need to improve access to justice. Under the leadership of former Northrop Grumman Corporation lawyer Judy Perry Martinez, the commission has explored new ways to improve the delivery of civil legal services to the public, especially to those who can’t afford a lawyer or are confused by the legal system.
While the 30-member commission has considered many possible solutions—from technological innovations to allowing nonlawyers to provide limited legal services—Resolution 105 doesn’t propose any specific changes to the status quo. Instead, it asks the ABA to adopt “Model Regulatory Objectives for the Provision of Legal Services” that are guided by such benign principles as protection of the public and meaningful access to justice. It also urges each state’s highest court to be guided by these objectives if it is considering new rules to allow activity by “nontraditional legal service providers.”
While the resolution doesn’t advocate for such changes, the mere mention of “nontraditional legal service providers” raises hackles for some in the ABA. The Texas state bar board, for example, has asked Texas delegates to withhold their support for Resolution 105. State bar president-elect Frank Stevenson II of Locke Lord said the board opposes the proposal because it seems to presume there’s a place for nonlawyers to provide legal services. He added that Texas’ chief justice has already set up a commission to study how lawyers can reach more of the public, and his group wants to wait for that group to finish its work.
“Our position shouldn’t be interpreted as rigidly opposed to innovation in the provision of legal services,” Stevenson said. But he added, “We feel lawyers are not fungible with nonlawyers.”
The New Jersey State Bar Association’s board of trustees voted unanimously to oppose the resolution, also because it envisions new categories of legal service providers. The ABA’s Litigation Section voted 17-8 against it.
Philadelphia lawyer Lawrence Fox of Drinker Biddle & Reath, who has long crusaded against allowing nonlawyers to provide legal services, sent a Jan. 29 email to all delegates with the subject line “Save Our Profession.” He implored them to reject Resolution 105: “If we are going to show leadership, it ought to be in opposing the unauthorized practice of law, wherever it rears its ugly head,” he wrote.
The resolution does have some organized support, including from the South Carolina Bar Association, the ABA’s Business Law Section, the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Washington State Bar Association. (In Washington state, licensed nonlawyers already provide some legal services.)
ABA President Paulette Brown declined to comment on the resolution or the work of the commission.
The commission will hold a roundtable discussion in San Diego on Saturday and will meet again on Sunday. The ABA’s House of Delegates will consider the resolution on Monday.
A simple majority vote is needed to adopt a resolution. The ABA has 560 delegates, but it’s not clear how many will be present Monday.
Over the past year and a half, the Commission on the Future of Legal Services has sought new ideas to improve the public’s access to legal solutions. In May of last year it held a National Summit on Innovation in Legal Services at Stanford Law School that drew 200 participants, including 12 state court chief justices, the CEO of LegalZoom, a Microsoft Corp. in-house lawyer and numerous academics.
The following month, in a podcast on the Legal Talk Network, commission chairman Martinez sounded optimistic that the profession might change. “There’s room in this space to think differently about how we provide legal services,” she said. “This has the potential for sea change.”
Some of the profession’s rules, she said, serve as barriers that don’t protect the public. “We’re making sure that lawyers understand what services aren’t needed to be delivered by a lawyer and can in fact be delivered by somebody else.”
Martinez also noted that some lawyers might have trouble adjusting to a new model: “[There] will be some pain for those not alert and ready for change.”
Martinez could not be reached for comment.
The United Kingdom has already allowed some of the changes that are being fought over in the United States. In 2007 it passed the Legal Services Act, which permits so-called alternative business structures in the practice of law. The U.K. law breaks down many of the barriers that prevented nonlawyers from providing legal services or supplying capital to legal service providers.
Stanford Law School professor Deborah Rhode, who co-chaired last year’s summit and who directs the Center on the Legal Profession at Stanford University, called the May gathering an “extraordinary show of support for innovation” by ABA leadership. Four past, current and future ABA presidents attended, she noted.
“The major challenge for the ABA is how to get the rank and file behind some of these innovative initiatives,” she said. “A lot of lawyers feel very threatened.”
Rhode criticized the organized opposition against Resolution 105. “It’s such a mindless reflexive response,” she said. “This [change] is coming whether the bar likes it or not. Sticking their heads in the sand and trying to block even such an unobjectionable compromise position [in Resolution 105] seems a step in the wrong direction.”
She added, “This is why I titled my book ‘The Trouble with Lawyers,’” referring to her 2015 book critiquing the profession.
“I don’t think it’s fair to say that everyone who has concerns is sticking their heads in the sand,” said Locke Lord’s Stevenson, the Texas bar president. “A lot of criticism has been very nuanced and raises some issues that need to be addressed.”
BOSTON – A group of Western Massachusetts banks argued before the state’s highest court on Thursday that the city of Springfield’s anti-foreclosure ordinances should be overturned.
The banks say the local ordinances contradict state laws, and a bond levied on lenders constitutes an illegal tax. “It’s not that banks are opposed to mortgage laws and reform, but to how it’s being done,” said Craig Kaylor, general counsel for Hampden Bank, one of the banks that brought the lawsuit. “These are for the state to decide, not city by city.”
But the city disagrees and says the laws are necessary to avoid blight and protect neighborhoods that have high rates of foreclosure.
“This is the city’s response to the foreclosure crisis,” said Springfield Assistant City Solicitor Thomas Moore, who argued the case before the Supreme Judicial Court. “It’s a response from the city council and mayor based on what they see every day in the city. They’ve taken the strongest stance to protect homeowners and the city itself.”
The city of Springfield passed two anti-foreclosure ordinances in 2011 as the city was being hit hard by the mortgage foreclosure crisis. One ordinance requires a bank that forecloses on a home to pay for a $10,000 bond, which can be used by the city to maintain the foreclosed properties, if the bank fails to do so.
The other ordinance requires the establishment of a mandatory mediation program to help homeowners facing foreclosure. The bank would be responsible for paying most of the cost of the mediation.
Springfield is among the top cities in the state in the number of distressed properties it has. The city says high rates of foreclosures lead to health and education problems for children in families that lose their homes, and high rates of blighted or vacant properties lead to crime and violence in those neighborhoods.
Six western Massachusetts banks, with Easthampton Savings Bank as the lead plaintiff, challenged the ordinances. A U.S. District court judge upheld the ordinances. However, on appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a stay preventing Springfield from enforcing them. The federal court then asked the Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, to answer two questions related to state law before the federal court makes its ruling. The case is Easthampton Savings Bank and others vs. City of Springfield.
The SJC must decide whether the local foreclosure ordinances are preempted by existing state foreclosure laws. The court must also decide whether the $10,000 bond is a legal fee or an illegal tax. Cities and towns cannot create taxes without legislative approval.
The banks also argue that the ordinances violate the contract clause of the U.S. Constitution by impairing the contract between the homeowner and the mortgage-holder, a question that remains before the federal court.
During Thursday’s arguments, Tani Sapirstein, an attorney representing the banks, argued that the bond is a tax because banks do not get any particular benefit from paying it – which is the criteria for calling something a fee. The way the bond works is when a foreclosed property is sold, if the city did not have to use the bond money to maintain it, $9,500 would be returned to the bank and $500 is kept by the city as an administrative fee, used to maintain blighted properties and implement the foreclosure laws.
Chief Justice Ralph Gants questioned Sapirstein on whether the bank does not actually receive benefits. “You have an interest in preserving the value of your property,” Gants said. “If there are foreclosed properties going to hell all around your property, it diminishes the value of your property and diminishes the value of what you receive on the foreclosure. Why is this concern about avoiding blight not something that would benefit the bank as well as the city?”
Sapirstein replied that eliminating blight would benefit the bank “as well as the city and other property owners in the neighborhood.” “How is that a particularized benefit?” she said.
Moore argued that the bond is a fee, which the city needs to hire code inspectors and create a database of who controls foreclosed properties.
But Justice Geraldine Hines said if she pays for a copy of her birth certificate, she gets a document in return for the fee. “Here I don’t see that,” she said. “The property owners, the mortgagees, don’t have something tangible.”
Moore said the banks get a “well-regulated industry” and preservation of their property values. In addition, when a bank registers ownership in the database, the city knows who is responsible and problems can be resolved more easily.
Sapirstein also argued that local law cannot require more than state law in an area that is regulated by the state or the result would be “a patchwork of ordinances.”
Gants indicated that the court may move to narrow the ordinances – for example, applying them only to a bank that has taken possession of a house, not a bank that is in the process of foreclosure when the homeowner is still living there. Gants said the ordinance as written could fine a bank for not maintaining a property where the homeowner still lives. As a homeowner, Gants said, “I’d say I’m still living here. This is my home. How can they be punished for not invading what’s still my home just because they happen to be foreclosing on it?” Gants said.
Moore acknowledged that the ordinance may be overbroad and said the city does not anticipate pursuing a violation in a case like that. Moore said the lenders’ lawsuit is premature because there is no information yet about how the city will enforce the laws. “We have the lenders essentially saying the sky will be falling, we are worried about x, y, z happening. None of that has happened and none of that may happen,” Moore said.
Moore said the city is still writing the regulations for the ordinances and if they are upheld, “The city is ready to go forward with implementation within a period of weeks.”
Similar foreclosure ordinances were established in Lynn and Worcester, and local banks challenged those as well. That lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court in Worcester. The case involving Lynn and Worcester could be affected by the SJC’s ruling in the Springfield case.
Several activists supporting homeowners came in from Lynn and Springfield to hear the arguments. Candejah Pink, a Springfield homeowner and community organizer battled foreclosure for four years before reaching an agreement to keep her home. She helped write the Springfield ordinances. Pink said the bond is there to ensure that homes are maintained, which keeps crime and violence down. The mediation program, she said, is important to help homeowners come to an agreement with lenders. “We’re not asking to live in our homes for free. We’re asking for some mediation,” she said.
Ya know, I used to think that Foreclosure Hell was the worst thing we in this Country had to face. Wow, Was I Wrong!
I didn’t realize that just like in Japan, they will cook us to death with radiation, and not even bother to tell us. I have condemned the Japanese for nuking the world and not telling us the truth about it, but fuck me, this country is doing the same thing.
While most people go about their daily business, they never think about the fact, that a pleasure of getting rained on is killing them. We are the walking dead, and being asleep to the fact is just fucking us up more.
I would apologize for my slang, no, crude language, but something needs to wake these sleeping zombies up!
So, they are not only going to take every house they can get their grimy paws on, but they are going to continue the slow kill of humankind from the planet.
It is not the kids growing up now that will suffer so much, it is like the butterfly test in Fukushima. It is the children’s children that will be riddled with deformities.
No matter what they try to tell us, we cannot be stupid, and believe that radiation is ok. The thought of believing that, well, it is, stupid. The sheeple that make up this country now, is amazing. If the government says the radiation is not hurting us, we’ll just believe them. Because the government says so? Yall need to get out from under the rock, and out of the sun, cause damn! You been drinking too much water with fluoride in it, for too long, and it has made you dumb! I take that back, it has made you dumber than dirt!
For years, they have been doing things with the weather, with our food, with our prescriptions, our health! They have taken healthy human beings and turned them into out of shape, fat slugs that have lives that are meant for cattle. Chemtrails is no lie either. What about HARP? I guess that you also believe that 911 was not an inside job.
No, I am not a conspiracy theorist, I believe in taking what is put before me, studying it, seeing it for what it is, listening to scientists, listening to experts, and deducing my own opinion. You see, we woke up. We quit drinking the tap water. We quit watching the regular news. The news media is brainwashing you sheeple, which is not hard for them to do.
Terrorists are here, they are going to get you, so we have to militarize the Police forces. These false flag shootings, are to outrage you sheeple, so that you will agree that guns are bad, and they can confiscate our guns. We are told that our rights have to be taken, so that we can be protected from the terrorists, etc.,
If you are so blind you cannot see your nose on your face, you will not notice that Fannie Mae, and the banks are throwing our elderly out on the street. Right now, in Goodyear, Arizona, an 83 year old woman and her 86 year old husband are being thrown out of their home. No one cares. In Colorado Springs, CO, an 82 year old woman is being thrown out of her home. No one cares.
What the hell is wrong with you sheeple? It’s not you, so it is Ok? The Bank With the Most Homes in the End Wins, Get Used to It!!!